Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) led nine Republican colleagues in introducing legislation that would bring parity to gun owners using public lands. The Recreational Lands Self Defense Act would restore Second Amendment rights of individuals recreating on lands managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). Co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming).
“The inability to carry firearms on Corps land is inconsistent with regulations governing public, federally-owned lands, and a violation of the intent of the Second Amendment” said Senator Crapo. “Enabling Americans to carry firearms on land managed by the Corps will allow law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and provide needed consistency across federal lands to reduce the complexity of tracking where one federal agency’s land management ends and another’s begins.”
“The federal prohibition preventing individuals from exercising their Second Amendment rights on U.S. Army Corps land is inconsistent and unconstitutional,” said Senator Risch. “Arbitrary regulations based on often unmarked jurisdictional boundaries do nothing but punish law-abiding citizens. This bill will restore the right to bear arms for sportsmen and women recreating on some 12 million acres of federal lands.”
“I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and take seriously government’s role in protecting Americans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” said Senator Rick Scott. “This bill makes a commonsense fix to current law to allow Americans to exercise their constitutional rights on federally-managed Army Corps land.”
“We must recognize that the right to bear arms should include Army Corps of Engineers lands,” said Senator Tillis. “The law currently states that law-abiding gun owners may carry in National Parks and National Forests, but does not extend these same protections to lands owned by the Army Corps. I am proud to work with my colleagues to correct this problem and ensure that the Second Amendment is protected on public lands.”
“It is long overdue that we remove the unnecessary federal restriction on state law and align federal policy to allow Americans to express their Second Amendment rights on Corps land,” said Senator Braun. “The Recreational Lands Self Defense Act will do just that by aligning firearm policy on Corps land with the Department of the Interior precedent.”
“Almost 50 years ago, Americans’ Constitutional right to bear arms on land under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was stripped by the federal government,” said Senator Marshall. “This legislation restores our Second Amendment rights on public lands overseen by the Army Corps, leaving the American people’s ability to carry a firearm for self-defense or recreational purposes to the discretion of state and local governments – protecting law abiding gun owners from further federal overreach.”
“Every day, people across Wyoming responsibly use their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms,” said Senator Barrasso. “Our legislation will make sure people in Wyoming and other public land states can exercise these constitutionally protected rights on lands managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”
“I am proud to join Sen. Crapo on this bill to restrict federal overreach and restore Second Amendment rights for law-abiding gun owners on land controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” said Senator Cruz. “This bill protects the right to bear arms on this public, federally owned land as long as it is consistent with state law – a right that should never have been removed from Texans and Americans in the first place.”
“For decades, Americans’ Second Amendment rights have been checked at the entrance to federal land under U.S. Army Corps of Engineers management,” said Senator Lummis. “Nearly 50 percent of Wyoming is federal land, and restoring this constitutional right is long overdue. I’m proud to work with Senators Mike Crapo, John Barrasso, and other colleagues to end this ridiculous infringement of Americans’ liberties.”
Under current law, an individual may carry a firearm on lands managed by the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture, including National Parks and National Forests, as long as it is consistent with state law. The Recreational Lands Defense Act would treat Army Corps land in the same manner, allowing parity on nearly 12 million acres of Army Corps recreation lands. It would not change current legal prohibition of guns in federal facilities.
Full text of the bill can be found here.